Friday, 18 September 2009

A New Year

It is the start of the year 5770 of the Jewish Calendar on Friday night. I grew up in an Orthodox home, although we were not strictly observant. I have lapsed somewhat since then and although my Jewishness is always part of me I don’t attend synagogue anymore.

However, old habits die hard and this time of the year has a rhythm and deep meaning which is triggered in me anyway. On the eve of the New Year, it is said, the book of judgement is opened and everyone is judged according to their actions in the past year and their fate determined for the next year. However, all is not lost because you have ten days to change that judgement for the better by repentance, prayer and charity and then the book is sealed on Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement.

I don’t believe the literal word of this but it is a wonderful reminder of what is really important in life. In my terms it is a time for reflection and also for making that call to that person you have not spoken to recently, for reviewing charitable donations and also building bridges where you may have fallen out with someone. It may have nothing to do with religion – but it’s not a bad thing to do.

For us this year it is quite a poignant time as my mother-in-law died in Cape Town this week. As my grandchildren would say – she was 99¾. It is a sadness but not a sorrow as she led a good life until the last couple of years where the quality declined rapidly and her end was a release.

My husband and his brother are there now and I will welcome the New Year with our London family with plenty of sweet things to ensure a sweet year and we will Skype the Swiss family and eat a virtual apple in honey together.

Leshana tova tekatev v'etachetem -- May you be inscribed for a good year!

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